November inflation triggers 2% wage and benefit top-up

Inflation – the rate at which prices rise - fell in November for the first time since July.  November inflation stands at 10.63%, which is still a very high rate, but lower than October’s 12.27%. November inflation has also triggered a wage and benefit top-up.

The figures from Statbel, the statistical service of the federal economy ministry, suggest a first halt in the upward trend.  The lower November figure is linked to a big fall in the gas price, following a peak in August, and a fall in electricity prices.

Still, Christine Lagarde, the president of the European Central Bank, yesterday warned against premature optimism.  She says there’s still too much uncertainty with regard to higher energy prices and rises that are being passed on to consumers in order to assume the inflation peak has now been reached.

Energy price rises can still be blamed for November’s high inflation rate as prices are compared with those of a year ago.  Energy inflation in November still stood at 36.07%.  3.62% of the 10.63% November inflation figure is due to rising energy prices.

Rising food prices too are a cause of higher inflation.  Food inflation stands at 14.48%.  Vegetables, dairy, bread, grains and alcoholic beverages all became more expensive.  Clothing, foreign travel and hospitality all became more expensive too.

For the second month in a row the 2% wage and benefit top-up, commonly known as the index, has been triggered by the November figure.  It’s the fifth time this year that a 2% top-up is triggered. 

Benefits and public sector wages will now be topped up.

Most wages in the private sector will now automatically rise too, but exactly when this happens, depends on industry agreements per sector. The large group of workers - around a million people - who receive index-linked wage increases in January can look forward to an increase of over 11% in January 2023.

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